Sunday 18 February 2018

Amazon takes on YouTube by letting anyone upload a video

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May are putting together a new show for Amazon
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May are putting together a new show for Amazon

Madhumita Murgia

Anyone with an Amazon account can now upload their own videos to the site, which will be available for free to tens of millions of Amazon Prime members around the world. 

The YouTube-style self-service programme, Known as Amazon Video Direct, will become part of the wider catalogue of films and TV shows offered by Amazon Prime Video.

It can be viewed by Prime customers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Japan.

The videos can also be uploaded for the wider Amazon audience, either supported by ads or for a small one-time fee. 

“It’s an amazing time to be a content creator,” said Jim Freeman, head of Amazon Video. “There are more options for distribution than ever before and with Amazon Video Direct, for the first time, there’s a self-service option for video providers to get their content into a premium streaming subscription service.”

The company has launched with several media partners who can start publishing their videos from today, including Conde Nast  Entertainment, child-friendly Mattel and Business Insider. 

The programme also includes a $1m monthly bursary that will be shared out between the creators of the top 100 videos uploaded through Video Direct every month, starting June 1.

Self-service on Amazon

The move to let independent artists self-publish is parallel to the Kindle Direct Publishing service, which launched in the UK in 2010. This allows anybody to self-publish a book to the Kindle store and benefit from sales. 

The success of the programme has been significant. According to Amazon, the UK's most popular independent author Rachel Abbott has sold more than 1 million books globally, and was number 14 on the list of Top 100 Kindle authors of all time. 

Furthermore, six self-published authors made the Top 100 Kindle authors of all time and seven self-published books were in the Top 100 Kindle books of all time. 

Amazon's video team has been busy this year. Last month, the Seattle e-commerce giant launched a standalone monthly video subscription option for its streaming service in the US, going to head to head with internet TV company Netflix.

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